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WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops will engage in a canonical consultation regarding the cause for canonization of Dorothy Day, a pacifist and convert to Catholicism from New York City.
This consultation will take place during the bishops' General Assembly November 12-15 in Baltimore.
Dorothy Day dedicated her life fighting for justice for the homeless in New York City and was co-founder the Catholic Worker Movement.
Biographical materials provided by the New York Archdiocese note she was born in Brooklyn, New York, on Nov. 8, 1897. Her parents moved to San Francisco and she was later baptized in the Episcopal Church. Her family later moved to Chicago, and she attended the University of Illinois at Urbana. In 1916 left college to go to New York City to work as a journalist on social newspapers.
Her biographies describe a political activist who participated in protest marches and developed friendships with famous artists and writers. At the same time she experienced failed love affairs, a marriage, a suicide attempt and an abortion.
A key moment in her life occurred in 1926 with the birth of her daughter Tamar. She embraced Catholicism and had Tamar baptized to the dismay of her associates and ending her common-law marriage. She reported for several Catholic magazines, including America and Commonweal, as she struggled to find her role as a Catholic. In 1932, she met Peter Maurin, a French immigrant and former Christian Brother, with whom she co-founded The Catholic Worker newspaper. Work at The Catholic Worker led to the founding of several Houses of Hospitality and farm communes in the United States and other nations.
Day's life was marked by fidelity to the Scriptures, voluntary poverty, the works of mercy and work for peace and justice. She was shot at while working for integration and prayed and fasted for peace at the Second Vatican Council. She died November 29, 1980, at Maryhouse in New York City, where she died among the poor.
The canonical consultation is a procedural step in the process toward canonization. Church law governing canonizations as found in the Vatican document Sanctorum Mater requires that the diocesan bishop promoting a canonization cause to consult at least with the regional bishops conference on the advisability of pursuing the cause. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and head of the Archdiocese of New York, is seeking the consultation of the full body of bishops.
Day already carries the title "Servant of God," a designation awarded by the Vatican when it gave her cause a Nihil Obstat, that is,a formal declaration that the Vatican hasno objection to the cause moving forward.
Keywords: Dorothy Day, Catholic Worker, Peter Maurin, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, America, Commonweal, Second Vatican Council
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